Dundalk have announced the signing of defender Robbie McCourt from Sligo Rovers and Norwegian winger Runar Hauge on loan from Hibs on a busy day of transfer action.

However, manager Stephen O'Donnell confirmed that their efforts to retain Mark Connolly are at an end.

The 30-year-old defender has spent the last six months at Oriel Park, on loan from Dundee United, earning the SWAI Player of the Month award for June during his short stint.

Connolly will now depart, with speculation mounting that he is bound for Derry City.

McCourt, a former Under-19 international who was subsequently called up to Under-21 squad, made 37 appearances for Sligo since signing from Waterford in December 2020.

The 24-year old Dubliner spent his youth career at West Brom before returning home to sign for Bohemians in August 2018. He switched to Waterford in 2019, playing all bar one game that season.

Dundalk currently sit in second spot in the league, seven points adrift of leaders Shamrock Rovers and McCourt expressed delight at the move.

"As soon as Stevie gave me the call I wanted to jump into the car and come up straight away," he said. "I think he tried to get me twice before so hopefully this is third time lucky!

"He's made it known that he likes me as a player and all you want to hear as a footballer is that you're going to get a chance under the manager. I’m delighted it’s done and I’m delighted to be here."

O'Donnell said: "Robbie is a player I've always liked and he gives us great strength and balance in the defensive positions.

"He’s a player I should have got after his spell at Waterford and when I saw him go to Sligo and develop again I was thinking, 'why didn’t I make a move for him?’ because he impressed in both spells."

The 20-year-old winger Hauge arrives on a loan deal until the end of the season, having made two appearance for Hibernian last season.

"I'm excited and I’m looking forward to getting started," said Hauge. "I can see that we are still fighting for the title and I want to help the team to try and win the league and the cup. As a player, you want to win things and I am coming to a top club in Ireland to try and do that.

"I’m a wide player, a winger, and I love to attack, get in the box and create chances for my teammates. I’m an attacking player so I hope the fans will be excited to watch me."

Mark Connolly with the Player of the Month award for June

O’Donnell also commented on the failure of their efforts to retain Connolly.

"Mark was brilliant for us and we were great for Mark," said O’Donnell. "It was a six-month loan but it felt like a lot longer than that because he really immersed himself in the group.

"It’s unfortunate that all parties couldn’t come to an agreement but that’s football. We move on in our direction and Mark will move on his direction. We wish him all the best."

Shamrock Rovers have brought in former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Simon Power.

The 24-year-old started out at Cabinteely back in 2015 where he made one appearance in the First Division. He moved on to UCD for two seasons before signing for Norwich City in January 2018.

During his time at Carrow Road, Power had four loan spells - to Dordrecht in the Dutch second tier, Scottish Premiership side Ross County, and twice to National League North side Kings Lynn Town.

The Wicklow-born midfielder featured in Stephen Kenny's Ireland Under-21 team in 2019, earning four caps. He joined Harrogate Town in League Two in 2020.

Simon Power (L) with Stephen Bradley. Photo: Shamrock Rovers

"We're delighted to have signed Simon," said boss Stephen Bradley.

"He's someone that we have known about and have been interested in for a long time. He's got great strength and speed and can play all over midfield, centrally, on the right and left, and behind the front two as well also defensively. He has a directness that will certainly add to the squad.

"We’ve been in touch with him for a while now, and then we met Simon a few weeks back. He had other options in England on the table, but after speaking with him over that time we were able to convince him that this is the next step for him."

On signing for the Hoops, Power added: "I grasped the opportunity to come home and play some European football as well as potentially get my hands on some silverware with Rovers. Altogether, it was a no-brainer to join Shamrock Rovers, I’m delighted that it has been all sorted and that I'm finally here."

Rovers Dublin rivals Bohemians have also been busy in the transfer market, signing James Clarke on a multi-year contract.The midfielder, 21, joins from Drogheda United for an undisclosed fee.

Clarke joined Drogheda in 2019 from Shamrock Rovers' U19s, and has played 21 times for Kevin Doherty's side this season.

Welcoming Clarke to Dalymount Park, manager Keith Long said: "James is a fantastic young player, we are really excited to work with him.

"He is a Bohs fan too, so he is delighted to come to the club. He was even a mascot before!

"He's had great season so far, has fantastic attributes, brilliant potential and will bring a different dynamic to the team."

Clarke is the eighth signing of this transfer window following the additions of Ryan Burke (Mansfield Town), Laurenz Dehl (Union Berlin, loan), Josh Kerr (Airdrieonians), Declan McDaid (Dundee), Jon McCracken (Norwich City, loan) John O'Sullivan (Accrington Stanley) and Ethon Varian (Stoke City).

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